Possible strike looming for LIRR union members

Possible strike looming for LIRR union members

Thousands of Long Island Rail Road workers could strike next spring if they don't get a new contract and a raise.

Union leaders say LIRR workers haven't had a pay hike since their contracts expired back in 2010. The MTA Board said Wednesday that it could reduce fare hikes and tolls next year only if unions agree to three years of so-called net-zero contracts. Net zero means any pay hikes would have to be offset by some form of labor concessions.

Anthony Simon, of the United Transportation Union, says the workers should not be scapegoated.

"To turn the public against us, to say the three zeroes has to come out of us so that the fare increases don't happen is just outrageous," he says.

Union officials say a strike is possible if the MTA sticks to its demands.

LIRR president Helena Williams says a stoppage wouldn't be a good outcome for either party. According to Williams, the MTA will ask the White House next week to form a presidential emergency board to mediate the issue.